Corrections or additions?
These articles edited by Kathleen McGinn Spring were prepared for
the July 23, 2003 issue of U.S. 1 Newspaper. All rights reserved.
The Book Club That Tackles Business Titles
A quick look at Amazon.com’s list of best selling
books turns up some interesting titles. There’s "Moneyball: The
Art of Winning an Unfair Game," a book about the business of
"Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap . . . and Others
Don’t," the title outselling all others this summer;
and Personal Renewal" and "Execution: The Discipline of
Things Done," two books whose titles promise results in areas
high on every businessperson’s wish list; and, for anyone curious
about the more unsavory implications of making fat and salt pay big,
"Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All-American Meal."
So many titles — including a new entry in the "Who Moved My
Cheese" series — and so little time.
"Reading business books is one of those things most of us put
off," says Kim Rowe. "We know we should read those business
books, but.." she says, letting her sentence trail off. Between
running a business or meeting deadlines on a job, making sure milk
finds its way to the refrigerator and the kids get a ride to camp,
there is not a whole lot of time left over for even the meatiest new
"Cheese" or "Fish" book. Especially when it has to
compete for space in the beach bag with the latest from Janet
or, for heaven’s sake, that big-as-a-bread-loaf must-read, "Harry
Potter and the Order of the Phoenix."
For the past three years or so, the New Jersey Association of Women
Business Owners (NJAWBO) of Mercer County has been finding a way to
slip business titles into its busy members’ schedules. The
book club, now run by Rowe, meets on Wednesday, July 30, at noon,
at Rowe’s home to discuss "Seven Secrets of Successful Women:
Success Strategies" by Donna Brook and Lynn Brooks. Anyone
in joining the book club is urged to attend the free book club
For directions and more information, call Rowe at 908-359-9665.
As of press time, Rowe had not yet read the new book club selection.
"I always read it in the last week," she says with a laugh.
Book clubs, it seems, retain elements of the classroom. Some members
get the book and read it right away, while others "cram" at
the last minute. A crammer, Rowe is also one of three partners in
Agentive Sales and Marketing Solutions, a company that designs and
conducts training sessions for employees of pharmaceutical and medical
device companies. Agentive, Rowe explains, is a virtual company. One
of her partners operates from Long Island and one is located in
Rowe, a graduate of the University of West Virginia (Class of 1976),
got into the contract training business after stints in marketing
with C.R. Bard and with Bristol-Myers Squibb. She left the corporate
world when her daughter, now a teen-ager, was a baby. "I was
all the times," she recalls. The life was not a good fit with
her parental responsibilities, so she opted for the flexibility of
the entrepreneurial life, taking good wishes — and her first
— away with her when she left Bristol-Myers.
After working on her own for a number of years, she joined with her
partners, contacts she had retained from her life as an employee.
The trio most often conduct training for groups of salespeople, or
for groups of sales or marketing managers. The pharmas’ employees
spend a lot of money flying into a central location, says Rowe, and
contracting with a company, rather than with an individual, gives
them a level of comfort. If one of the partners has an emergency,
and can’t make it to the training session, another is always available
to fill in.
Summer is the slowest season for Rowe’s company. With fewer training
sessions to lead, the partners turn their attention to marketing.
"If you’re going to be successful in business," says Rowe,
"you have to sell." Like most business owners, she would
to concentrate on her area of expertise, but Rowe says 70 percent
of her time is spent marketing, and she suggests that a similar
is what it takes for many entrepreneurs to thrive. That is one reason
that one of her favorite NJAWBO book club reads was "Discover
Your Sales Strength." Another reason she likes it is that it was
written by Benson Smith, with whom she worked at Bard.
"Most of the people in the group had not been salespeople,"
she says of the NJAWBO book club. "But in their current role,
they have to sell. The book helped them to get over the stereotype
of salespeople as fast-talking, slick, sleazy types. They saw that
to be successful you don’t have to be like that."
The club meets four times a year. At the upcoming meeting, the club
will decide on its next four books, giving everyone plenty of time
to order and read them. "Everyone comes with suggestions,"
says Rowe. There tends to be lobbying, she says, with everyone pushing
for the finds they have turned up. Are there ever any hurt feelings?
"No," says Rowe, "everybody can deal with it." Often,
at least a couple of the choices are books a member has read, enjoyed,
and learned from. In book clubs, as in business, a personal
carries a lot of weight.
Such an imprimatur also helps to cut through the
Everest of business titles. Amazon.com lists 17 separate categories
of business titles, including biographies and primers, business life,
careers, economics, finance, international, investing, management
and leadership, marketing and sales, personal finance, and small
"There is a book or six for everything you can think of,"
says Rowe. "It’s hard to sort through what’s good for the
Favorites, she says, tend to be "books you can really use."
A book the group put in that category is "Positioning: The Battle
for Your Mind" by Al Reis and Jack Trout.
"We had such a great discussion about that one," says Rowe
of the book about marketing. Another favorite, "Bold Women: Big
Ideas," a book about the venture capital industry by Kay
did not have the same teaching quality, but, nonetheless, Rowe says
the group found it to be a fascinating look at an important business
About 10 women show up for a typical meeting. "A core group of
six or eight are always there," says Rowe, "and two to four
come and go." The group finds noon, a time when many are getting
up to stretch anyway, a good time for the meetings. Everyone brings
a bag lunch, and the hostess provides dessert.
There has been discussion of holding the meetings at a fixed location,
possibly a restaurant or an office, but Rowe says that members, who
take turns hosting, enjoy visiting one another at home. The informal
ambiance lends itself to a secondary book club purpose, the
for members to come to know one another better. Everyone is welcome
to attend a meeting to see if it is a good fit, but newcomers need
to join NJAWBO if they want to become book club members.
Rowe says she decided to take on the book club because it has been
her experience that pitching in at an organization is the best way
to reap the benefits of membership. She observes that the people who
come to the book club and to other NJAWBO events, and who volunteer
to work on committees or projects are the women whose businesses are
most the successful.
Surely that observation could be the seed of a business book. Maybe
"To Move Up, You’ve Got to Pitch In" or possibly
Ten Ways to Enrich Your Professional Organization — and Grow Your
No matter how brilliant your great American novel or
wizardly software, no publisher is going to pry it out of your desk
drawer. And despite your unequaled sales, techie, or managerial
the odds are slim that a Fortune 500 CEO will hammer at your door,
begging for the precious pearls of your consulting prowess. Like any
other commodity, expertise must be aggressively marketed or it rots
on the shelf. The successful consultants realize this; the other 90
percent never quite catch on.
For any entrepreneurs striving to push his consulting business into
that profitable 10 percent, Mercer County Community College offers
"Consulting Made Easy" on Wednesday, July 30, at 6:30 p.m.
Cost: $45. Register by calling 609-586-9446. The course is taught
by independent consultant and 40-year marketing veteran Martin
Following a boyhood in a Lower East Side tenement, and a move up and
out to the Bronx, Mosho earned his business administration B.A. from
Brooklyn College. In addition to the required curriculum, Mosho took
dozens of related night courses. "Your most helpful courses always
came in the evening," he says. "I had one advertising course
taught by the president of Seagrams. The information was fresh and
it was a great way to make contacts."
For Mosho, both the advice and the contacts worked. He began selling
ads for the New York Times, then the New York Post and Mademoiselle
Magazine. He later directed ad sales for U.S. News and World Report.
Branching out on his own, he bought a Snelling Personnel franchise,
and recruited executives. In addition to teaching, he now runs a
business, which specializes in sales and marketing techniques.
"Every consultant needs to be selling himself, more than his
says Mosho. "And you need to be very aggressive about this
He has seen that consulting contracts consistently go to the
with the sharpest sales technique, rather than the individual with
the greatest skill.
effective gate keepers," notes Mosho. "These secretaries will
not switch you through to the director of personnel on a cold
You must have that individual’s name, and they are unlikely to
it. Trade magazines and the Sunday newspapers are still your best
tools here. When you read that Mr. John Smith has just received a
promotion to vice-president of production, you have found both a name,
and an opportunity. New executives are less tied by loyalty to old
vendors. They are most often the ones seeking new clients and new
ideas and even new full time employees, Mosho points out.
A simple, short letter congratulating Mr. Smith on his new
and listing very briefly your credentials is usually well received.
This should not be a sales letter, warns Mosho. Don’t overwhelm the
individual with the patter of your little feats. Merely greet him,
introduce yourself, and promise an upcoming phone call.
you are capable of doing. It may be a good idea to have parts of this
speech pre-scripted and teleprompting you on your computer screen
as you launch into the call. First, talk about yourself and your
but downplay his need for your service. "Your potential client
will decide if the need exists for your services," says Mosho.
Second, know that persistence pays. Being turned down once is not
a refusal forever. Keeping this customer on your active list and
every half year should be part of your business process. For Mosho,
frequently the six or seventh phone call has proved the charm.
in for further discussion, value his time. Promise that your
will only run a set number of minutes; and keep the promise. Once
you get inside the door, strive above all to be a good listener.
intently and find out this person’s problem. If you cannot solve
states Mosho, "thank him for his time and leave."
If indeed you can solve this company’s problem, you may inform the
interviewer that you can. You may even tease him with some of your
initial analysis plans. But do not spell out the solution. Not yet.
"It’s very easy to get your brains picked," laughs Mosho.
If you wrap up a client’s solution in a package and present it to
him upon first meeting, he’ll simply have no need to hire you.
at best. Price yourself too cheaply and you will be valued
Set too high a fee, and you may price yourself outside of the client’s
budget. Your best bet is to initially find what others in your field
are charging, and set yourself in the middle or upper-middle range.
In this buyer’s market for information specialists, you can almost
depend on a low ball client counteroffer. The statement "it’s
our company policy to pay consultants $350 a day" can be a
ploy or a true fixed limit. At this point, you must choose. Is $350
a day fair value for your time? And if it isn’t, is the job still
worth taking, perhaps because you sense an opportunity to win a place
on staff that would suit you through the short-term assignment?
Once the new consultant wins business and negotiates his fees, he
must decide whether to retain an attorney and an accountant. Mosho
favors simplicity, yet he says that certain contracts require legal
review. "More and more businesses are getting fanatical about
non-disclosure agreements," he says. "Some outfits have
from top scientists to secretaries signing these things."
If you are developing a product for sale, such as software, your
will frequently require that any resultant patent is the property
of the company, or that you sign a non-compete agreement which would
keep that invention out of their competitors’ hands. However, if your
services are less tangible, for example offering managerial advice
or a sales production program, you may be able to protect your ideas
and methods by packaging them into set packages and copyrighting each
Beyond direct client contact, Mosho suggests that consultants keep
their selling tentacles fully outstretched at all times. Publish and
selectively mail a newsletter. It can mention new clients, and provide
news and trends in the field. Giving talks at business gatherings,
including meetings of chambers of commerce, and teaching courses all
showcase your expertise and build a network of contacts. In an age
when over 5 million Americans are listing themselves as independent
consultants, the feeding frenzy for corporate dollars is frightening.
Successful consultants will be those who gain those precious
and keep their names circulating in the community.
— Bart Jackson
Larry Krampf has just cut his commute. The founder of
the Princeton Communications Group has moved his offices from Nassau
Street to 112 Titus Mill Road in Pennington (609-818-9800; fax,
"It’s a mile and a half from my house," he says of the
At the same time, Krampf, whose plans for expansion and a change of
scenery were derailed two years ago, has more big news. His company
has merged with Nancy Becker Associates, the Trenton-based lobbying
"She does lobbying and we do the creative side," says Krampf.
While the synergies between advertising and lobbying may not be
obvious, an example he throws out clears up the picture. "For
Capital Health," he says, "we came up with the branding and
we do the advertising." And when the healthcare organization needs
some legislative help, perhaps when it wants to expand into a new
area of medicine, which, in New Jersey, requires state approval, Nancy
Becker works to make it happen.
"We’ve been referring business back and forth for 15 years,"
His outfit now has 33 employees, and Nancy Becker Associates has 8.
Nancy Becker will retain its Trenton office, and Krampf will have
a small office in the capital, too. Each company will keep its own
Two summers ago, Princeton Communications was headed for the pool
— the outdoor swimming pool that comes with the unique, 1702
at 88 Orchard Road in Skillman from which the American List Counsel
had just moved.
"Then 9/11 happened," says Krampf simply. Advertisers —
along with everyone else — became paralyzed, and he decided to
stay put while waiting to see what would happen next. "We had
made a down payment, but we wanted to hold back," he says. "We
saw the economy going down." Now the future — at least
— looks more clear, and the availability of modern offices near
his home has given him the confidence to move forward.
Princeton Communications’ new offices contain 15,000 square feet of
Internet-ready space, about 6,000 more than the group was to have
used in the old farmhouse. (The remainder of Krampf’s 23,000
building is occupied by Health Answers, formerly Hastings Healthcare
Group. Rob Lyszzarz of Re/Max Properties Unlimited on Route 206 has
purchased the farm property for $1.3 million.)
In addition to the lobbyists from Nancy Becker, the offices are home
to the staff of HR Innovator, a new human resources trade magazine
being published by a separate group, which is a partnership between
Krampf and Bill Corsini, who was most recently group publisher
of HR Executive magazine.
Corsini is the publisher and Matt Damsker the editor of the 66-page
glossy magazine. The May and June issues each have a dozen articles
(features and one-pagers) and a couple of dozen full page ads, ranging
from software to gift baskets. Their cover stories were interviews
with the HR directors of the Borgata casino and AMS, the IT consulting
firm. The June issue also featured the new Executive MBA program run
by former Bristol-Myers Squibb HR chief Charlie Tharp and Rutgers
professor Dick Beatty — and threw in an interview with Beatles
mentor Sir George Martin for good measure.
While he is enjoying all the easy parking and the short commute his
company’s move has brought, Krampf says he is not sure how long the
new space will contain his business. "It’s okay for a short
he says, "but we’re growing."
Media Watch: Oxford Communications
Bill Hartman has been named studio director of Oxford
Communications, a full-service advertising, public relations, and
graphic design firm with offices in Lambertville. In his new role,
Hartman manages the day-to-day operations of the department, where
he oversees eight artists.
A resident of Abington, Pennsylvania, Hartman, a Drexel alumnus, has
been with Oxford Communications for three years.
It’s spreading. The Zipcar phenomenon, after getting
a start at the Institute for Advanced Study, has crept up University
Place and into downtown Princeton. Soon to appear at every train
near you, the Zipcar is a car you don’t own, but that will open up
for you after you click your mouse a couple of times and then swipe
your plastic membership card through its EasyPass-like entry sensor.
The brainchild of two Cambridge, Massachusetts, entrepreneurs, who
saw the share-a-car concept at work during a trip to Berlin, Zipcar
promises to impart mobility minus the shackles of car ownership.
Marvin Reed, mayor of Princeton, first saw the Zipcar concept in
too. Interested in promoting pedestrian-friendly downtowns, especially
in his own town, he was intrigued. Upon learning that Zipcar had come
to the Institute for Advanced Study, he contacted the company about
placing some of its cars in Princeton. Now a VW Beetle in a pale lime
green hangs out at the Dinky Station and a hybrid Matrix Maggie makes
its home in the parking garage at the corner of Hulfish and
Two more cars may soon join the first two Zipcars.
"There are people who live downtown who would like to do without
a car," says Reed. "They commute to New York, they don’t want
to be bothered with a car." Most of what anyone needs is within
walking distance in Princeton, he points out. A number of residents
just want a car for the occasional drive to Sam’s Club, to a movie
not playing at the Garden Theater, to the shore, or to visit a friend
in Pennington or Westfield.
Future residents of the 77 apartments being built near the new library
might well be interested in living a car-free life, Reed suggests.
"I would hope people wouldn’t feel they have to have an auto,"
he says. "It’s a win for the borough. Even if we encourage only
a dozen to live without a car."
Other possible Zipcar candidates are visitors arriving by train.
of driving to town because their final destination is not within
distance, they could just zip into a Zipcar and be on their way. Reed
says that NJ Transit is in the process of adding Zipcars to its
"I think the students will use them too," says Reed. "You
have to be 21, but enough students are 21. And, of course, they are
great for graduate students."
"I don’t know that it’s a system you would have put in place 10
years ago," Reed continues. "It’s totally dependent on the
Internet. It’s all done electronically without human beings, unlike
a car (rental) agency, where you have to see an attendant."
This is how Zipcar works.
application at www.zipcar.com. There is a one-time application fee
of $30. Members choose between two plans. Under the monthly plan,
a credit card is billed $30 a month. The money is put into a Zipcar
bank, and drawn upon according to car usage at a rate of $8 an hour
or $65 to $85 a day. The money piles up if the car is not used much,
but it is nonrefundable. The alternative is to pay a $75 annual fee.
time, sign up online. "The car will be expecting you," Reed
explains. "Just swipe your card, and it opens." The only thing
expected of the driver, he adds, is that he fill the gas tank —
using a credit card found in the glove compartment — when it dips
to a quarter full.
to help potential users decide if the signing up would be a money
saver. Plug in car payments, insurance payments, garage fees, gas
and maintenance costs, and typical number and duration of car trips
during a month, and it will tell you if you would save with a Zipcar.
Examples on the website are for people living in cities, where rates
are higher than they are in Princeton, but they give a good idea of
how the costs work out. In one example, Lauren, a Manhattan mother,
uses the car once a month for a two-day weekend trip. Her Zipcar costs
come to $203.85, a fraction of a the fee required just to park in
the city. In another example, Josefina, a Cambridge mother, uses a
Zipcar to run errands 17 times a month, averaging 4 to 12 miles on
each trip and taking 1 to 3 1/2 hours each time. Her monthly cost
is $128.52. In a third example, Gail, a Capitol Hill professional,
used the car to attend 16 meetings a month, traveling an average of
7 to 9 miles and spending 2 to 4 1/2 hours at each meeting. Her
cost is $328.76.
who arrive at their jobs via train. For many, the biggest drawback
to the arrangement is that they cannot get very far during the day,
whether to meet with a client, to run an errand, or to go out for
lunch. A Zipcar could make all the difference.
Corporations can get their very own Zipcars by paying a one-time
fee of $100, and an annual fee of $20 per driver, which comes with
$20 worth of driving time.
Zipcar thinks green, and its cars are small. While they are well
to taking a couple to the movies or to a dinner party, the little
cars would not haul too many 24-packs of paper towels from Sam’s Club
or easily accommodate a family off on a ski trip. Still, as Mayor
Reed emphasizes, getting even a few cars out of the traffic mix is
a good thing. The very presence of a Zipcar option could cause a
of car-expense-weary Princeton residents to stop and wonder just how
much they really do need a car — or a second car, or a third car.
Sit on your deck with a laptop and connect to your
It’s the latest thing in networking, says Scott O’Brien of O’Brien
Consulting Services (OCS).
O’Brien says interhouse wireless networking is a hot service ticket
these days: "People want to bring laptops home to work on a home
network, and because wireless has become inexpensive people have been
coming in droves." To hook up wirelessly to the Internet costs
just $400 for one laptop and one PC, including the hardware.
OCS installs a box with two antennas as a plug-in access point. Within
a range of several hundred feet you can then connect to either the
Internet or to your office computer over the Internet.
To connect directly to your office computer is easy but requires some
extra steps. First you need high speed access like DSL or cable and
a laptop that is wired for wireless. The B standard is the most
but the newer G standard runs five times faster on the same frequency.
Then you get software such as PCAnywhere or the program built into
Windows 2000 to connect to your office computer over the Internet.
O’Brien just moved his home-based business from East Windsor to
but plans to open an office in East Windsor soon. A Rutgers graduate,
Class of 1996, he started doing Novell networking when he was in high
school and is also certified in Windows 2000. With six employees,
plus contract workers, he does general computer consulting but focuses
on hard-wired or wireless networks. His clients range from homeowners
to international firms (474 Blue Bell Avenue, Langhorne 19047.
fax, 215-757-9748. Home page: www.ocsconsulting.com
Caution: You may need multiple access points if your sightlines are
blocked by walls or stairs, or they are interrupted by environmental
variables such as fluorescent lighting. Environmental variables?
needed just one access point for an 8,000 square foot home made of
marble and wood, but a 1,000 square foot townhouse, plush with carpet
and draperies, required two.
— Barbara Fox
Corrections or additions?
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— the web site for U.S. 1 Newspaper in Princeton, New Jersey.